NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Avalanche vs. Hurricanes (March 10)
Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Nazem Kadri
- The Avalanche face the Hurricanes in Raleigh on Thursday night in what's close to a pick'em.
- Both team are Stanley Cup contenders, but which side will emerge victorious in this marquee matchup?
- Nick Martin breaks down the game and shares his best bet below.
Avalanche vs. Hurricanes Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After a shocking 3-0 collapse to the Devils Tuesday, the Avalanche will head in to Carolina looking to respond. They will have a great opportunity to make a statement here against the Eastern Conference leading Hurricanes.
Which side holds the upper hand as the top two teams in the league matchup in Raleigh?
Avalanche Looking to Generate Momentum
The Avalanche surprisingly have lost three of their last four games, with the only win coming after another near collapse – the Islanders scored three goals in the final 10 minutes of the third period and nearly tied it up from 5-1 down.
Over this 1-2-1 lull, the Avalanche have still controlled more of the play, with a 55.36 Expected Goals Rate. Those momentary lapses leading to Devils and Islanders outbursts can be somewhat excused because the Avalanche are already essentially playing for nothing moving towards the postseason as they hold a massive 12-point edge over the Flames in the West.
Expectations were high for the Avalanche entering the season with an elite group of stars. Those players have had great seasons, but other lesser known players like Nazem Kadri have also been important. Kadri has 72 points in 55 games and might be the team’s third-most valuable player. The Avalanche have an embarrassment of riches in talent.
Darcy Kuemper will likely draw the start here and has been solid this season. He has a +13.5 Goals Saved Above Expected rating and a .917 Save % in 40 games played.
Hurricanes’ Offense Slumping
The Hurricanes have put together yet another spectacular season, and the only thing really left to prove is that they can breakthrough in the postseason.
The Canes have themselves fallen into a less dominant run of play, producing just a 49.13 Expected Goals Rate over their last five contests. However, they have managed a strong 3-1-1 record, with three single-goal victories.
They have outperformed their mediocre expected results thanks to great goaltending and consistently collapsing low in the defensive zone without allowing full blown defensive breakdowns. However, the offense has looked far less creative than other top units at 5-on-5 of late, and a 2.2 Goals For per game over five games is concerning.
A massive part of Carolina’s dominance this season has been the outright dominant Penalty Killing unit which still sits at 89.1%. They have faltered in that regard recently, which is likely somewhat of a natural regression – the Hurricanes are flirting with the best Penalty Kill rate in recorded history.
Frederik Andersen is listed as day-to-day, but it still seems most likely we see him get the start here. He has dominated this season with a +28.5 Goals Saved Above Expected rating and a .928 Save % in 39 games played.
Avalanche vs. Hurricanes Pick
The Avs have not been near their best over the last four contests, but we are certainly in the dog days of the regular season for an Avs group up by a zillion points in the Central Division that is waiting for the postseason.
The defensive play has been at times soft and lackadaisical over that small sample, but the roster on hand is still the best in the league and has the Avs deservedly still sitting as the outright cup favorite. The pace this team can play at with so much offensive talent both up front and in the back end is simply unmanageable when true to form.
Consequently, this is a spot where Colorado should play closer to their top level as they should be motivated to play another cup contender in Carolina.
At even-strength, the Avalanche have an edge in their ability to generate offense. Carolina’s two conceivable edges over the Avs, a strong penalty killing unit and unbelievable play from Andersen, are likely less sustainable than the Avs’ ridiculous offensive upside.
With the game opening as close to a pick-em, there’s value backing Colorado’s current line of -115, and I would back the Avs down to -130. Should Frederik Andersen end up sitting again, we will certainly gain a lot of value having locked in -115 early, but if Andersen plays, we still won’t see better by puck-drop anyways.
Pick: Colorado Avalanche -115 (Play to -130)